Goodreads Blog

Science Fiction & Fantasy Week

Posted by Cybil on July 29, 2017
Sponsored by Ready Player One. Soon to be a major motion picture directed by Steven Spielberg.

Welcome to our celebration of all things magical, dystopian, galactic, and mythic.

Readers' Top 50 Sci-Fi Novels
From Ender to the hapless Arthur Dent, to returning to beloved worlds created by Ursula K. Le Guin, Isaac Asimov, Octavia Butler, and many more.

Readers' Top 50 Fantasy Novels
Go there and back again with novels full of legends, heroes, myths, and magic. From J. R. R. Tolkien to George R.R. Martin, these epic fantasies await readers.

Top YA Sci-Fi
Where the future is blight.
Top YA Fantasy
Magical mischief managed.


Eagerly Anticipated Sci-Fi & Fantasy Adaptations
Your favorite sci-fi and fantasy stories are coming to a screen near you, including Blade Runner, A Wrinkle in Time, Annihilation, and Watership Down.

Andy Weir's Space Colonization Picks
The Martian author picks stellar homes.
Essay: N.K. Jemisin's 'The Idea' Problem
"Ideas are everywhere," she says.


Terry Brooks' Fantasy Recommendations
The expert on what to read now.
Kim Harrison's Favorite Fantasy Series
Tales of tough chicks and urban fantasy.


Ready Player One
'Adaptations' image credit: Blade Runner 2049 (Courtesy of Warner Bros. Picture)

Comments (showing 1-50 of 476) (476 new)


message 1: by Amber (last edited Jul 29, 2017 07:57AM) (new)

Amber Martingale Too bad the First Amendment right to freedom of speech disallows us from banning ALL further creation of dystopian fiction even though that crud rots the brain, especially if it's ALSO YA.


message 2: by Pamela (new)

Pamela Canepa Wait, Watership Down is being adapted for film?! I am so curious as to how that will be done! Must see it! Even Bladerunner is on my list, even though everyone says it can't be as good as the first (Rutger Hauer was incredible), but I've got to see what they've come up with. My curiosity is piqued!


message 3: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Sigman Amber wrote: "Too bad the First Amendment right to freedom of speech disallows us from banning ALL further creation of dystopian fiction even though that crud rots the brain, especially if it's ALSO YA."

*rolls eyes* And 10 years ago it was vampire novels. Let's not tell people what to write and what to enjoy.


message 4: by Michelle (new)

Michelle *cheers and whistles and applause for Jennifer* Well, since we live in an increasingly dystopian society, I consider each dystopia I read to give me valuable life skills. :D I think I'll go read another one just in honor of you, Amber :D


message 5: by Amber (last edited Jul 29, 2017 08:24AM) (new)

Amber Martingale Pamela: There's ALREADY a 1978 animated version of Watership Down. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0078480/
and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watersh...

Jennifer: Why do you think I mentioned the First Amendment? 99.9999 ad infinitum% of every YA (both dystopian and non dystopian) book I have ever read would have been better off NOT having been written. Every one I have ever read has been almost as badly written as FSOG and the Twatlight Saga. That said, I stopped reading YA when I was 10...29 years ago and from what I've read of reviews and other GR patron comments, the genre hasn't improved one iota since then and if anything has actually gotten WORSE.


message 6: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Perhaps the fact that you've not read a YA novel in 29 years might be a factor here. YA is not all Twilight. I've read a number of really good ones, and any number of YA novels that I prefer immensely to, say, adult romance novels or formula thrillers. There are seriously good YA novels that have really stepped up and confronted issues facing teens like racism, mental illness, sexual preference and identity that I wish had existed when I was a teen. And I've read a number of very fun science fiction teen novels recently. I am a librarian and often get to witness patrons' devotion to YA literature. While there are twaddly books in EVERY genre, there is also a lot of good in most. I'm truly sorry your view is so narrow.


message 7: by Cai, Goodreads Expert (new)

Cai Hi everyone - you are more than welcome to discuss your opinions with each other, but please keep your comments civil and related to the topic at hand.


message 8: by Maureen (new)

Maureen Gphalen wrote: "Michelle wrote: "*cheers and whistles and applause for Jennifer* Well, since we live in an increasingly dystopian society, I consider each dystopia I read to give me valuable life skills. :D I thin..."

I would suggest you take your political opinions to Twitter. This isn't the forum for calling anyone idiots.


message 9: by Amber (last edited Jul 29, 2017 08:50AM) (new)

Amber Martingale Gphalen: If reality weren't dystopian enough, would the Electoral College have IGNORED the will of the public and "elected" an overgrown toddler who openly despises the First Amendment, denigrated a Gold Star Marine Corps family simply because they are Muslim, denigrated a Latina Miss Universe winner by calling her "Miss Piggy" and "Miss Housekeeper" and openly BRAGGED about not being prosecuted in a court of law for grabbing women by their genitals?

Michelle: There's only ONE YA series I actually find palatable and that's Will Hill's Department 19 series. It's the exception that proves (to me, at least) what I said about the rest of the YA genre. That said, I have two books meant for kids on my Currently Reading list: https://www.goodreads.com/review/list...

The only part of your statement, so far, I agree with, is that it isn't all Twilight.

My view is so "narrow" as you put it because I've been reading since I was a FOUR year old and even when I was that young, most of the stuff my age mates were either reading on their own or having their parents read out loud to them didn't appeal. In other words, this is a long standing gripe on my part.

Maureen: Thank you about telling the poster of the the "liberal idiots" comment to take it to Twitter.

Cai: I think that's why Maureen told off the person who posted the aforementioned "liberal idiots" comment.


message 10: by Maureen (last edited Jul 29, 2017 09:12AM) (new)

Maureen Michelle wrote: "Perhaps the fact that you've not read a YA novel in 29 years might be a factor here. YA is not all Twilight. I've read a number of really good ones, and any number of YA novels that I prefer immens..."

Okay, this is my deal with YA- there was no such thing as YA when I was growing up. There were just books. Great books. Classic books. I stopped reading 'children's books' probably about the same time as Amber. I am not going to tell anyone what to read or when to read it, I actually find more narrow views with YA readers than with other readers. I would have freaked out when I was a teenager if the publishing industry tried to pigeon hole my reading habits with their marketing ploys. And lets be honest, that is all it really is- a way for them to make more money.

I have read YA in the post- Twatlight era - and I'm sorry but it was bad. I am a fully-formed adult person. I don't want to read books that are dumbed down and I don't want my kids to either. I know there are many who disagree with me, but it is my choice, just as it is yours, to read what I want. I would not ask that YA books stop being published, but I would encourage YA readers to come out of their lane and see what else is out there.


message 11: by Joseph (new)

Joseph Popewiny Why does every topic on the internet have to be derailed by some moron spouting their political "wisdom"? No one cares!


message 12: by Amber (last edited Jul 29, 2017 08:52AM) (new)

Amber Martingale Precisely, Maureen: a marketing ploy. I think the YA label was just getting started around the time I started reading, which as I said in my previous post, was 4 years old.

Joseph: Because that's human nature, I think. Re: "Why does every topic on the internet have to be derailed by some moron spouting their political "wisdom"? No one cares! " That said, I had to say something to Gphalen about having called me a "liberal idiot."


message 13: by Janice (new)

Janice Bolick Love it. I'm a Trekkie.


message 14: by Maureen (new)

Maureen Cai wrote: "Hi everyone - you are more than welcome to discuss your opinions with each other, but please keep your comments civil and related to the topic at hand."

Thank you, Cai!


message 15: by Amber (new)

Amber Martingale And I like both STAR TREK and STAR WARS, Janice. Right now I like STAR WARS more, so I was happy to see Tim Zahn's Heir to the Empire in the list.


message 16: by Gaia (new)

Gaia Amman Pamela wrote: "Wait, Watership Down is being adapted for film?! I am so curious as to how that will be done! Must see it! Even Bladerunner is on my list, even though everyone says it can't be as good as the first..."

Oh my! We need to be friends!!! Watership down was a staple of my childhood and Blade Runner is one of my favorite movies ever. I even have an original 1982 poster of the movie from an Italian theater :)


message 17: by D.G. (new)

D.G. Amber wrote: "99.9999 ad infinitum% of every YA (both dystopian and non dystopian) book I have ever read would have been better off NOT having been written"

Just because you don't like a genre, it doesn't mean "99.99%" shouldn't have been written. Just enjoy the books you like and leave it to other people to enjoy YA.


message 18: by Amber (last edited Jul 29, 2017 09:06AM) (new)

Amber Martingale Gaia/Pamela: Both that version of Watership Down and the Ralph Bakshi movie adaptation of The Lord of the Rings really weren't meant for kids when they came out, though compared to the Peter Jackson versions of both LOTR and The Hobbit, I think kids can watch them and not bat an eyelash since as a whole, society is a heck of a lot more violent than we were 39 years ago. This scene in particular from the 1978 Ralph Baksi version of LOTR is a case in point about that version not having been meant for children: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ha2Cn...

D.G.: Read what Maureen said about post-Twilight YA having been "dumbed down" and you'll understand.


message 19: by Maureen (new)

Maureen So...back to science fiction! I was a late arrival to science fiction. I prefer subject matter that can happen in real life rather than aliens and such. Absolute best (IMO) dystopian science fiction of the year is American War by Omar El Akkad stunningly brilliant.


message 20: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Well, there was no such thing when I was growing up either, it wouldn't surprise me if I am older than you. I'm 50 and have been reading for 47 of those years. I have always read anything with a good story. If I only read what "my age" would indicate I read I'd be stuck with cozy mysteries. A terrible fate indeed. They are OK but I don't want to eat only sweet potatoes . . . I read YA. And "adult" books. And children's books. And picture books. I've even recently read a few board books---for myself. IF the story is good then I'll give it a try. I DEFINITELY don't want to take away things people enjoy. Paperback romances are NOT my personal thing--I have in fact read a smattering, but I don't love them. I'd march in protest if someone wanted to take them away from my patrons though! ALL publishing is marketed, ALL books are to make money. You can't just reject all books that are marketed for money because then you'd be stuck either with your own writing or fanfic. LOL. I'm a YA reader BECAUSE I LIKE THE STORIES. Not all of them--there are stinkers. But that's the job in any part of the literary world--finding the gems among the stinkers. I'll bravely volunteer. :-)


message 21: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Loved your first paragraph Amber. :-) I've been reading since I was three, and I once had to argue to let my school librarian when I was in third grade let me take Julius Caesar home with me, but I don't see why that means I can't read a YA novel if I want to when I'm fifty--and enjoy it too. I think there are good books---AND bad books--everywhere, and it's my job as a reader to go in search of what I want. And my job as a librarian to help my patrons do the same, even if they like James Patterson Bookshots. LOL


message 22: by Asun (last edited Jul 29, 2017 09:17AM) (new)

Asun Here's the deal: anyone's perfectly capable not to like YA as a genre or want your kids to but stop telling people what they read and what they shouldn't read.

I have read countless classic novels that are considered "literary canon" and yet, to name a couple topics, they fail to address mental illness or rape culture. In fact, some of them even fall into misogyny, racism, etc. So-called YA books have treated the topics I named above way better so I would not say that every book in that genre is "dumbed down".

I do agree that certain labels are stupid and only a product of marketing and readers shouldn't stick to "young adult books" when they're considered as such; readers should be able to read what the want. HOWEVER, if they want to read those novels, if they enjoy them and they enrich them as readers in some form then what's the harm in that? There exists good and bad literature even in well-acclaimed genres or from bestselling "adult" authors, same applies to YA.

I would suggest not to lay your prejudices on an entire genre and let people decide what they want to read and what they consider good or bad literature :)


message 23: by Michelle (new)

Michelle I loved American War too, and a friend told me about Underground Airlines . . . have you read it?


message 24: by Maureen (new)

Maureen Michelle wrote: "Loved your first paragraph Amber. :-) I've been reading since I was three, and I once had to argue to let my school librarian when I was in third grade let me take Julius Caesar home with me, but I..."

YES! I am a librarian too :) I have developed a great poker face for James Patterson books as well as a few other authors. My internal eye roll is on point! A book for every reader, right?


message 25: by Pamela (new)

Pamela Canepa Gaia wrote: "Pamela wrote: "Wait, Watership Down is being adapted for film?! I am so curious as to how that will be done! Must see it! Even Bladerunner is on my list, even though everyone says it can't be as go..."
Gaia, I shall friend you when I'm done typing this! I am still very curious as to how an adaptation of Watership Down will turn out with today's technology! I hope it could do the book justice.


message 26: by Asun (new)

Asun Michelle wrote: "Well, there was no such thing when I was growing up either, it wouldn't surprise me if I am older than you. I'm 50 and have been reading for 47 of those years. I have always read anything with a go..."

This is exactly what I mean. As long as you enjoy the story then nothing else matters. It sucks to see people "feeling bad" because they happen to enjoy YA fiction. I do not particularly enjoy crime fiction and others do and that's fine, same should be applied for YA in my opinion.


message 27: by Maureen (last edited Jul 29, 2017 09:21AM) (new)

Maureen Does anyone want to talk about the new movie version of A Wrinkle in Time? I have strong opinions about this...
And this is a fantasy book so not totally off topic.


message 28: by Nelo (new)

Nelo I just got Octavia Butler and N.K. Jemisin's book can't wait to read them..along with many others on this list


message 29: by Maureen (new)

Maureen Michelle wrote: "I loved American War too, and a friend told me about Underground Airlines . . . have you read it?"

I have it but it keeps getting pushed down my list. This has been a really great year for books by new authors- I rarely give 5 stars to anything and have given a bunch of them this year.


message 30: by Tytti (new)

Tytti Worldcon 75 will be held in Helsinki, Finland, in less than two weeks and there doesn't seem to be one Finnish book mentioned... And only few in general that haven't been written in English. You do know that other countries and languages exist, don't you? And also translations?


message 31: by Alondra (new)

Alondra WHOA! Why is everyone bashing, getting political and personal!??

JUST STOP

If you do not like the picks chosen, someone else's picks or whatever; then good for you. You do not have to like or endorse

The good thing about good- reads, is that we do NOT have to like. There is something for everyone.

damn.... *rolls eyes*


message 32: by Amber (last edited Jul 29, 2017 09:47AM) (new)

Amber Martingale Michelle wrote: "Loved your first paragraph Amber. :-) I've been reading since I was three, and I once had to argue to let my school librarian when I was in third grade let me take Julius Caesar home with me, but I..."

Thanks, Michelle. I was born the same year the Ralph Bakshi version of LOTR came out. I made my first attempt to read The Hobbit in second grade. Only thing my school librarian did was to say she thought' it'd be easier for me to read when I was at least a 3rd grader. I eye rolled her...but it turned out she was actually right. My first attempt was: *makes whistling sound as she passes a hand OVER her own head*.

Speaking of Tolkien, here's a video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAAp_...

Maureen: Hopefully I don't sound TOO pedantic, but science fiction can also be set in the PAST. Case in point: The Jean M. Auel Earth's Children series which began with The Clan of the Cave Bear. That said, I just this year STOPPED rereading that series. Too much infodump to suit me. As info-dumpy as they were, they were better than the movie version. This is the movie trailer, if you didn't see it in the mid 80's: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkJ4k...


message 33: by Maureen (new)

Maureen Alondra wrote: "WHOA! Why is everyone bashing, getting political and personal!??

JUST STOP

If you do not like the picks chosen, someone else's picks or whatever; then good for you. You do not have to like or end..."


WHOA! Please read the entire thread before flying off the handle.


message 34: by Maureen (new)

Maureen Amber wrote: "Michelle wrote: "Loved your first paragraph Amber. :-) I've been reading since I was three, and I once had to argue to let my school librarian when I was in third grade let me take Julius Caesar ho..."

Oh yes, of course. Not pedantic at all. Like I said, I am a newbie to the genre :)


Zombieslayer/Alienhunter {quester in a cashier's body} Sometimes I'm so envious of people who 'grew up' with these genres. I read mostly realistic books about horses and such until I was ten or eleven, then went straight to the Stephen King shelf.
I didn't start reading fantasy until I was thirteen, with The Hobbit.
It's a genre I love now (there's a special place in my heart for its subgenre urban fantasy though) and I'm glad I was old enough to appreciate the more complex writing, but still, sometimes I wish I'd started younger.

As for film adaptations, Ready Player One has caught my eye, though I'm skeptical. I didn't love the book but it has a good opprotunity for film.


message 36: by Amber (last edited Jul 29, 2017 09:49AM) (new)

Amber Martingale OK. I just thought I'd warn you, Maureen.


message 37: by Maureen (new)

Maureen Amber wrote: "OK. I just thought I'd warn you, Maureen."

Thanks for the info! :)


message 38: by Amber (last edited Jul 29, 2017 09:52AM) (new)

Amber Martingale You're welcome.

Ok, any comments on the video link I posted about Professor Tolkien?


message 39: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Chinelo wrote: "I just got Octavia Butler and N.K. Jemisin's book can't wait to read them..along with many others on this list"

Kindred is one of my favorite books I think, and I just brought home Jemisin's first book in the series, but haven't started it yet. I'm excited!


message 40: by Karsten (new)

Karsten Stiller I'm from Germany, so my favorite SciFi-booklist has (surprise, surprise:)) some books of german Scifi-authors in it. First and foremost: Andreas Eschbachs "Die Haarteppichknüpfer". There's even an english edition of that - "The carpet makers", and it's strongly recommended by Orson Scott Card.

Some other authors who led me to scifi were Karl-Heinz Tuschel and Klaus Frühauf - 2 writers who lived and worked in the former GDR and put some remarkable works into the bookshop-shelves.
To the best of my knowledge, there's no english translation of their works, so, if you want to read pearls like "Ein Stern fliegt vorbei" or "Kurs Minosmond" by Tuschel or "Mutanten auf Andromeda" by Frühauf, you have to learn german, first ;)


message 41: by Amber (new)

Amber Martingale To be honest, Karsten, since this site's HQ is here in the US, you'll not likely find many German authors of these two genres here, except in translation.


message 42: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Karsten wrote: "I'm from Germany, so my favorite SciFi-booklist has (surprise, surprise:)) some books of german Scifi-authors in it. First and foremost: Andreas Eschbachs "Die Haarteppichknüpfer". There's even an ..."
Thank you, Karsten, I will look up The Carpet Makers and will let my son who is living in Austria right now know about this one and the other authors you mentioned! *I* can't read German, but he can . . .
That's a good idea anyway. What are some other favorite translated authors? It seems to me the Chinese, especially the amazing Ciu Lixin, are about the only inroad I see often. There must be more!


message 43: by Karsten (new)

Karsten Stiller I know, Amber, but it was asked for scifi-recommendations - not for scifi-recommendations only for english speaking people. And while people with english as their mothertongue make certainly the overwhelming majority here, there are some people here, too, who use other languages in their daily life. After all, I'm the proof of that, am I not? :D
So I think some recommendations for foreign language books and authors are in order, too.


message 44: by Joseph (new)

Joseph Sci-fi and fantasy is a broad category that is inclusive on numerous themes. What one likes, another may hate. Read what you like and just enjoy the story/novel. A few recommendations of non-dystopian fantasy is by Robert Asprin of the myth series and Phule's series. Just plain silly fantasy. Again others may hate the Phule's series. Another great author Jennifer Roberson on the Cheysuli series or Sword Dancer series.

Overall the point is read what you like and no need to bash anyone for their choices. Instead of just reading books from "The Top 50 Fantasy Novels" there is another route. Google the phrase "Authors like ######" and stick in your favorite author where the ##### are. Goodreads has a list of authors who are similar. An example was Jennifer Roberson was similar to Melanie Rawn, who at first I never heard of. I tried the Dragon Prince series by Melanie Rawn and it was great. Use this strategy on finding new fantasy novels rather than just looking at the "Top 50" or recommendations by popularity. Popularity does not necessarily mean you will like it. Look for the style of writing, flow, topic, and perspective of novels you enjoy and then find authors similar to the one you liked. Enjoy reading!!


message 45: by Alondra (new)

Alondra Maureen wrote: "WHOA! Please read the entire thread before flying off the handle...."

I read the initial comments, and they were quite negative. I have not been rude or crass to anyone. I only ask that folks remain respectful of everyones opinions. Thank you for correcting me .... not.


message 46: by Tytti (new)

Tytti Asun wrote: "Here's the deal: anyone's perfectly capable not to like YA as a genre or want your kids to but stop telling people what they read and what they shouldn't read.

I have read countless classic novels that are considered "literary canon" and yet, to name a couple topics, they fail to address mental illness or rape culture."


Classics, by definition, are usually old. Mental illnesses were not very well known even some decades ago and "rape culture" is quite modern a term (and not very widely used), so it's not surprising that a novel written 100 years ago doesn't address those issues. (Though there are some books about depression, I think...)

And it's the label YA itself that "dumbs down" the books. It's not a genre, it's an age category, and apparently the author/publisher thinks that the book is better suited for teenagers. If they thought that adults of all ages would be interested in reading it, then there would be no reason to label it YA. I am just listening to them, I have plenty of other books to read... It also seems that there is this belief that teenagers can only read books that have been written to them and/or have teenage protagonists. Personally I would find that limiting but then again I have been reading "adult" novels since I was about 9 and have no interest reading only about teenagers.


message 47: by Maureen (new)

Maureen Alondra wrote: "Maureen wrote: "WHOA! Please read the entire thread before flying off the handle...."

I read the initial comments, and they were quite negative. I have not been rude or crass to anyone. I only ask..."


Meow.


message 48: by Jane (new)

Jane Joseph wrote: "Why does every topic on the internet have to be derailed by some moron spouting their political "wisdom"? No one cares!"

Thank you Joseph! I completely agree!!


message 49: by Madeline (new)

Madeline Great list, but...just how the heck is the Search for WondLa series not on here??? Seriously???


message 50: by Reading Faerie (new)

Reading Faerie Alondra wrote: "WHOA! Why is everyone bashing, getting political and personal!?? JUST STOP "

Thank you. I mean this sincerely. : )


Now, back to books. I love fantasy, yes, even Twilight. Sometimes you just want bum out on a novel that may not be "rocket science", but still enjoyable to you. I love the fantasies of Patricia McKillip, she writes in a magical way I just enjoy so much. I usaly don't read a lot of Sci-fi, but The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was really good. So funny.
I've loved fantasy since I was a little kid. It's my second favorite genre after classics.


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